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The Christian Life Is a Walk

The Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Here are some of the most important steps along the way: 1: Believe the Bible (vs. 35-37). 2: Start living in obedience to the Lord (vs. 36-38). 3: Take the Gospel wherever we go (vs. 39-40). 4: God reminds us of the rapture (vs. 39-40).

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The Christian Life Is a Walk

Acts 8:35-40

Sermon by Rock Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 12, 2014

*The Christian life is a walk.

*William Ritter once said: "I recently found 382 biblical references to various forms of the word 'walk.' There are a multitude of references that suggest how we are supposed to walk as Christians: Walk in love. Walk in wisdom. Walk in the light. Walk in the path. Walk in the Spirit. Walk in the law of the Lord. Walk in the way of the Lord. Walk in the fear of the Lord. Walk in the peace of the Lord. Walk honestly, forthrightly, courageously, worthily and humbly." (1)

*The Christian life is a walk. And in this story, we can see some of the most important steps along the way.

1. The first step is for us to believe the Bible.

*We believe what God says in the Bible. We believe what God says about our sin, and we believe what God says about our Savior Jesus Christ. This is the step of salvation. And we see the Ethiopian taking this step in vs. 35-37:

35. Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

36. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?''

37. Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may.'' And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.''

*This Ethiopian was saved, and everybody needs to be saved. Last week we saw how this rich and powerful man from Ethiopia proves that. The eunuch had almost everything the world can offer, but his money was not enough, his position was not enough, his power was not enough, his prestige was not enough, and his religion was not enough.

*Everybody needs Jesus! Everybody needs to be saved. And 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." That's why Jesus Christ was willing to die on the cross for our sins. He took our place on the cross. He took our punishment. And He rose again to save anyone who will receive Him as Lord and Savior.

*Everybody needs to be saved, but this cannot happen without two key things we see in these verses.

[1] First, we have to hear the truth about Jesus.

*We have got to hear the good news of the cross. And this is what Philip gave the Ethiopian in vs. 35: "Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him."

[2] Just like the Ethiopian, we have to hear the truth about Jesus Christ. -- And we have to believe the truth.

*The Ethiopian showed his faith in vs. 37, when he said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." There is so much truth flowing out of this one sentence. When he confessed his faith in Jesus, that man from Ethiopia was in effect saying: "I know I am a sinner. I know I need a Savior. And I believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only person who can save me. I believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah and Lord of all. I believe that Jesus is God. And I receive Jesus as my Savior, my God and my King!" This kind of faith is the only response that leads to salvation and a personal relationship with God.

*Evangelist Eddie Martin gave this testimony about a crusade he preached in Bluefield, West Virginia: "A well-dressed woman came forward at the salvation invitation. I took her hand and prepared to give her a prayer to repeat after me.

*The prayer I usually give is, 'Dear Lord, I know that I am a no-good sinner. I know I can't save myself. I do need forgiveness for my awful sins. I can't do without you, Jesus. Please forgive me for my many sins.'"

*Then Eddie said, "I took this woman's hand and began to give her the prayer to repeat after me: 'Dear Lord, I know I'm a no-good sinner. . .' She never said a word. I looked at her and said, 'Don't you want to be saved?' She said, 'Yes, I do want to be saved, but I'm not a sinner.'" Eddie replied, "Then you can't be saved, Jesus only died for sinners."

*"But." she replied, "I'm a good sinner." "A good sinner?!? -- Lady, there are no good sinners. You will have to take your seat. God can't save you until you become conscious that you are a no-good sinner and need His forgiveness." "But, you don't understand. I'm really not a bad sinner."

*"I told her to go back and sit down. She held on to my hand with a vise-like grip. Finally, she looked me in the eyes and said, 'Oh, please forgive me. I know I am a no-good hell-deserving sinner. I am a proud, no-good sinner. I do need Christ to forgive me of my sins.'" "Wonderful!" the preacher replied. "Now, lady, you are ready to do business with God." (2)

*She was ready for the Christian life. She was ready for the Christian walk. And so was the Ethiopian eunuch, because he believed the Bible.

*The Christian life is a walk. Step 1: Believe the Bible.

2. And step 2: Start living in obedience to the Lord.

*That's what the Ethiopian so wanted to do in vs. 36-38:

36. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?''

37. Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may.'' And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.''

38. So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

*"What hinders me from being baptized?" I hear a passionate desire in that question. With all his heart, the Ethiopian wanted to follow the Lord in believer's baptism. So how did he obey? -- Enthusiastically and immediately. He had an urgent desire to obey the Lord, to follow the Lord, and to take a public stand for the Lord. It was the beginning of a new life of walking in obedience to Christ. And that's the way WE ought to be living.

*I love the story Pastor Sarah Sarchet told about a 10-year-old boy named Cameron. One day, he walked into the preacher's office and said he needed to talk. Fresh from soccer practice, and wearing his Cincinnati Reds baseball cap, Cameron had a request.

*"I'd like to be baptized," he said. "We were learning about Jesus' baptism in Sunday School. The teacher asked the class who was baptized, and all the other kids raised their hands. I want to be baptized too."

*The pastor asked, "Cameron, do you really want to be baptized because everyone else is?" He looked up and replied, "No. -- I want to be baptized because it means I belong to God." -- Great Answer!

*The pastor was touched and said: "How about this Sunday?" Cameron's smile turned to concern and he asked, "Do I have to be baptized in front of all those people in the church? Can't I just have a friend baptize me in the river?"

*"Where'd you come up with that idea?" the pastor asked. Cameron replied, "Well, Jesus was baptized by his cousin John in a river, wasn't he?" Caught off guard, Pastor Sarah said, "You have a point. But, if a friend baptized you in the river, how would the church recognize it?"

*Good question: How would the church recognize it? Cameron thought about it as the pastor got on a footstool to reach high for a book. Then Cameron wisely answered: "I guess by my new way of living." Pastor Sarah almost fell off the stool. (3)

*Cameron got it just right. Everybody ought to be able to tell that we belong to Jesus. How? -- By the way we live!

*The Christian life is a walk.

-Step 1: Believe the Bible.

-Step 2: Start living in obedience to the Lord.

3. And step 3: Take the Gospel wherever we go.

*That's what we see happening in vs. 39-40:

39. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

40. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

*We must take the Gospel wherever we go. Sometimes it's by a special appointment. That's what happened to Philip when God sent him to the Ethiopian eunuch. Then, God sent Philip to another special appointment in Azotus. God caught him up to Azotus, and that was about 20 miles away!

*"Beam me up Scotty?" -- No, it was a lot better than that, because God doesn't need a transporter! God miraculously transported Philip away, because He had a divine appointment for him in Azotus.

*And God may not move us the same way, but He definitely has divine appointments for you and me! He does direct our steps, so Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."

*And we should always trust in the Lord to direct our steps. That's why Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;

6. in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

*We must take the gospel wherever we go. Sometimes it's by special appointment, but it's always as the Savior's ambassadors. In vs. 39, the eunuch "went on his way rejoicing." And oh, what a difference that made!

*As Erin Gieschen once said: "Talk about a legacy. This Ethiopian was the first Gentile believer whose story was recorded in the book of Acts for generations to come. Eusebius, known as the Father of Church History, called him 'the first fruits of the faithful in the whole world.' He is even famous for fathering one of the oldest churches in history. . .

*Early church records show he fathered the north African Coptic Church that stood strong, even through the rise of Islam, and still stands today. He became the spiritual father of countless generations." (4)

*The Ethiopian went to Jerusalem as a servant of the queen. But he went back home as a servant of the King! He realized that when we are saved, we become ambassadors for Jesus Christ wherever we go: Motivated by Christ, motivated by our salvation, and motivated by our great purpose in life.

*Walking in the awareness that we are ambassadors for Christ will radically change the way we live. It can give significance to every part of our life. It can turn the smallest chore into an act of love. It can even make taking out the trash an important act of love. Christians: No matter where we go, every day of our lives, we are ambassadors for the King of Kings!

*The Christian life is a walk.

-Step 1: Believe the Bible.

-Step 2: Start living in obedience to the Lord.

-Step 3: Take the Gospel wherever we go.

4. And in tonight's Scripture, we can see a fourth step, because here God reminds us of the rapture.

*Again in vs. 39-40:

39. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

40. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

*Philip was "caught away." It means he was "plucked up, pulled up, taken up, seized and carried off by force by someone else."

*We find this word two other places in the New Testament. One place is in 2 Corinthians 12:2, where Paul was talking about being caught up to Heaven and he said, "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows such a one was caught up to the third heaven."

*The other place we see this word "caught up" is in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Please listen for it as I read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Here Paul was speaking to Bible-believing, born-again Christians, and he said:

13. But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.

16. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

17. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

18. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

*What happened to Philip here in Acts 8 is just a taste of what is surely going to happen to all believers when the Lord comes back! That is the final destination on this spiritual journey we have been talking about tonight. Everyone who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will spend all of eternity with Him in Heaven!

*Timothy Peck once put it this way: "Where is this spiritual journey of following Jesus Christ headed, what is the final destination? Well the Bible teaches that it's ultimately heading toward the end of history, when Jesus Christ returns again to this earth to set up his kingdom.

*For every one verse in the Bible talking about Jesus Christ's first coming, there are eight more verses that describe his Second Coming at the end of the age. One Bible scholar has estimated that Old Testament mentions this second coming of Christ 1,845 times. In the New Testament, the second coming of Jesus is mentioned 318 times.

*Many people today believe that Jesus Christ is coming again. According to one Gallup poll 62% of Americans believe that Christ will come again at the end of history." (5)

*Let me say that Jesus Christ is coming again whether people believe it or not! But Christians, whether we physically die and go to be with the Lord, or remain here until Jesus returns. The final destination on our spiritual journey is the same: Together forever with the Lord in Heaven!

CONCLUSION

*Christians: Heaven is our home! This is the final destination on our spiritual journey. But we are not there yet! We are on a walk with the Lord. And God has some things for us to do along the way:

-Believe the Bible.

-Start living in obedience to the Lord.

-Take the gospel wherever we go.

-And always remember our final destination.

*Would you please bow for prayer.

(1) Sermons.com sermon "Take a Hike" by William A. Ritter - Genesis 5:21-24

(2) Sources:

SermonCentral sermon "Hope in a World of Despair" by Steve Shepherd - Psalm 46:1

"How to Be Right with God" by Ray Pritchard - Luke 18:9-14 - Sept. 2, 1999 - Calvary Memorial Church - Oak Park, Illinois

(3) From a sermon by Sarah Jo Sarchet at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago - Source: Sermonillustrations.com email - 01122003

(4) Adapted from online article by Erin Gieschen - 2006 - IN TOUCH MINISTRIES

(5) SermonCentral sermon "Focusing on the Final Destination" by Timothy Peck - 1 John 2:28-3:10

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